The players, performance practices, and traditions of the New York Philharmonic horn section since 1928

Valerie S. Fuller

Abstract

In the over 150-year history of the New York Philharmonic, close to one hundred different players have occupied the chairs within the horn section. The amalgamation of these traditions and practices of these players provides the basis for the influential and unique New York approach to the horn. Numerous factors contribute to the New York approach to horn playing including playing characteristics, teaching techniques, and equipment use. Especially distinctive traits include specific approaches to embouchure, mouthpiece pressure, phrasing, vibrato, right hand position, and teaching philosophy. Yet other important factors come in the areas of tone quality, note beginnings, the use of the F and B-flat sides of the horn, lesson content and exercises, and instruments and mouthpieces. Together, all of these traits constitute the foundation of the New York style and, in fact, define the New York approach to horn playing.